After GOP victory, conservative magazine tells Bush to go for itBy Times staff writers
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 24, 2002
After a Republican sweep on Nov. 5, President Bush is being urged by some supporters to do all of the extreme things that Democratic candidates accused the GOP of wanting to do.
"How many times during the midterm campaign did Democrats say that a vote for Republicans was a vote to abolish Social Security, ban abortion, gut environmental laws and put right wing extremists on the bench?" asked the conservative magazine, National Review.
"The people voted. Let the fun begin!"
More Floridians, more power?
The Florida delegation wants more clout in the new Congress.
With Republicans gaining three Florida seats in the Nov. 5 election, the state's GOP members say they deserve more representation on key committees such as Transportation, Appropriations and Ways and Means.
The Transportation and Appropriations committees allow members to bring home the bacon. Ways and Means deals with taxes, Social Security and Medicare.
"We sent half of the new Republican majority to Congress," said Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park. "We deserve better representation on some of the top committees."
Unusual early departure
A seat in Congress is such a comfy perch that some lawmakers such as former House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Natcher have to be literally carried out on a stretcher. (As the 84-year-old Kentucky Democrat was dying of heart and lung disease in 1994, he insisted on being wheeled onto the House floor on a gurney to cast votes.)
Not so with retiring Texas Sen. Phil Gramm. After three terms, the Republican former Banking Committee chairman with a reputation for outspoken fiscal conservatism is leaving office five weeks early to give his successor an edge.
Gramm announced last week he would retire on Saturday instead of waiting until the 108th Congress convenes Jan. 7. The early departure will give incoming Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, more time to get up and running for the new Congress.
Gramm, 60, won't be idle, though. He will become a vice chairman of UBS Warburg, an investment banking company with offices in New York and Switzerland.
-- Times staff writers Sara Fritz, Bill Adair and Mary Jacoby contributed to this column.
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